Get Google to call you!

google-logo1Are you having issues with your new Google Maps listing for your business? I’ve had a bunch of questions regarding this and how to fix this. Easy, have Google call you! Some of you might have noticed something wrong with your maps marker or Google Maps or information in general. Some stayed the same, some disappeared/re-appearead, markers have moved, information didn’t stick. Whatever the case may be, if you use Google Maps and are having a difficult time getting your maps issues resolved by filling out the online form “fix your listing” with Google here’s a little trick and a not so obvious thing I just learned about Google. You can have them call you! That’s right! You heard me right, and in my experience the phone call is immediate. Here’s how!

What Do I Need?
1. A Google Places or Google+ account
2. The phone number associated with your business
3. The correct information for your Google listing

How Do I Get Them To Call?
1. Goto Google Places – use your Google login/pw
2. At the bottom of the screen you will see 5 hyperlinks, click on Google Places Help See Fig. 1
3. Click on the red button that says “contact us” in the upper right hand side of the screen See Fig. 2
4. A new window will pop up, click on the Blue button that says “Call Us” See Fig 3
5. A screen will pop up where you will need to fill out your Name, Google Email Address and of course your phone number See Fig. 4
6. Click on “Call Me” and Google will call within seconds See Fig. 4

Google 1

Fig. 1

Step3a

Fig. 3

Figure 2

Step4a

Fig. 4

TIP: You have to use your business phone number associated with your account, you can’t call from just any phone, keep that in mind. When they call you it will say press 1 for a Google specialist, and sometimes when you press one it keeps repeating it, just continue to press 1 you will be directed to a Google Specialist. More than likely, your Google specialist can make the changes to your account almost immediately do NOT let anyone tell you it will take 7 days for changes to take affect. I’ve asked Google every time I needed to make this call to make the changes immediately and they’ve done it!

Can I have Google change something else on my account?

Yes. If you have multiple business listings on the map or Google accounts you can have them combine all the listings for you. I recently did this for a client of mine. They had 3 listings in three separate accounts, they had reviews on all the sites and their maps were incorrect. Google was able to combine the accounts under one account, combine all the reviews and fix the location marker. Boom!

How often can I call?

As often as you like! I am always checking and making sure the Google listings for my clients are correct because they can change from time to time from Google glitches. If this happens Google will fix it for you and sometimes give you an email address to email them if it continues to happens.

Surveys Are Social Media Too!

vectorstock_926108In spite of what type of business you are whether it be an ecommerce or brick and mortar; surveys are unfortunately one of the most disregarded pieces of intel you aren’t using, yet! After having a very causal conversation with a close friend who’s company does $50,000 a day in business transactions by selling merchandise online, I asked a very simple marketing question when responding to his frustrations with customers who were discontented. I asked, “do you send every customer a survey after they make their transaction? And do you send them a survey if they had a return?” The answer was no, on all counts, and this started to make me speculate. A company this successful, which is a start up mind you, that has amplified their revenue almost overnight, managed to neglect a very uncomplicated yet extremely imperative piece of information in customer satisfaction verification…THE SURVEY! How could this be? To be honest it is more common than you would think and in the most unlikely industries as well. Living in Austin, TX the second Silicon Valley, there are startups everywhere that do not send surveys to customers but it’s not out of laziness, just simply because like all startup businesses, you get busy!

How is it possible for something so vital go unnoticed or untouched?
Simple, success! People don’t question what is going wrong with their business when they are flourishing. However, can you imagine the increase in success if you knew what your clients were happy/unhappy about? Disregarding client intel is the biggest “no no” in business and customer service. When you make a large purchase, whether it is a car, furniture, electronics, you are typically sent a survey. If you are an e-commerce/service industry business and you are not sending out surveys to ALL of your customers, then your marketing plan has gone awry and needs to be re-vamped. This information is so essential to the growth of your business and let’s face it there will be a time when you are not as successful as today and you will be scratching your head wondering why.

Why is this important to my business, I don’t have time or the manpower to send out surveys?
Good! Then pay someone to do it for you! No excuses though, here’s the little inside secret to surveys, they are a genius way to get your customers to vent to you first if something has gone awry during their transaction. Whether they are wrong and you are right, doesn’t matter, it’s all about repeat business and exuding excellent customer service. Surveys give you the opportunity to respond! So when a bad survey comes back, this is your opportunity to shine and woo these clients, and 9 of 10 times they will return if you make it right. Furthermore, do not afford your customers the opportunity to spread it all over the internet with nasty reviews. We know as business owners that we make mistakes and we cannot make everyone happy, but we can sure as hell try. And when you get those 5 star reviews from customers go back to them and ask them to write a review about your business on Facebook, Google, Yelp etc.. By looking for trends on your reviews you can capture the information you need to make your business healthier, whether it is customer service, sales or product, you have the opportunity to listen and they have the opportunity to speak, so respond! Trust me; just like a bad review on the internet, if it goes unreplied to, then you are guilty.

I’ve compiled a list of online survey sites I recommend. Most of these you can generate your own surveys and some will give you suggestions or have existing templates in place for you to choose from. It is a nominal expense for great information about your business from an outsider’s perspective. And always appreciate that these surveys should NOT be used as a witch-hunt, because let’s face it everyone has a bad day, so take that into account and extract the real information about you business and apply this to your day to day operation and annual improvements. Look for trends, answer questions and respond, respond, respond!
Here’s a compiled list of sites:

Create Survey http://www.createsurvey.com/
I like this one because you can link your positive surveys to your social media sites. Plus, they are reasonably priced $800 p/year unlimited responses

Survey Monkey http://www.surveymonkey.com/
Like Create Survey they are reasonably priced for unlimited surveys but you an also custom design and keep your branding in tact!

Poll Daddy http://polldaddy.com/
I like Poll Daddy because they are brought to you by the creators of WordPress and who doesn’t love WordPress. Pricing is a little steep but they have more robust package.

Google Docs
You can create a survey through your Google Docs. I personally haven’t used this survey option, but from what I’ve read it pretty sound. If you are a small establishment wnating to save extra money, check out this blog, they will explain step by step how to set up a survey with Google Docs.

True or False, Consumer Reviews Matter

As a business owner, whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for several years, consumer reviews are with us all the way. As it seems, with the perpetual authority of social media marketing, review sites have become more and more ubiquitous. The years have revealed to us some prominent players in the “review’ social media world, Yelp, leading the way and now Google+/Google Local, Yahoo Local, Foursquare following suite as a close second, third and fourth. There is nothing more disturbing or bothersome than receiving a negative Yelp review and to our dismay, the one neurotic mania we all fall victim to as business owners, is that one ghastly review. Not only does this affect your social media metrics, it also affects your psyche as well. By cultivating our social media prowess, we can alleviate that superfluous stress. How do we resolve the great conflict?  There are a couple of things we can do as business owners, but first of all, you have to psychologically eradicate this pessimistic perception that this is the end all be all of your business and really look at this for what it is, a learning curve in this vast world of the ever changing, ever present social media mecca. Here are some helpful suggestions.

You have no jurisdiction over the reviewer, so…

Let it be and control the things you can! The best thing you can do as a business owner is tactfully respond to any negative review; what is an even greater practice is to reply to any positive reviews as well. Not only does it show that you authentically care about your consumer’s opinion, but you are also prepared to reach out to them personally and say, “Thanks” or “I’m Sorry”! Whether you like it or not, good review or bad, that consumer took the time out of their demanding schedule to give you a shout out or a shout down! The best advice I can give anyone, is, respond! Believe it or not, the validation people experience when their words are heard and/or appreciated is invaluable. Don’t blow it off; a thank you or humble reaction is permanently valued. In some cases, it is viable to persuade the reviewer from removing their review from the site all-together. By offering a value add, say 20% /$10 off their next purchase or visit for example; you can generate trust and instill good will and in some cases bring them back as consumer or client. Believe it or not, people will respond to this optimistically and trust me, they will tell their friends and family members. The worst thing you can do is nothing at all…get involved with your consumer base that is reviewing you and reach out to them, this is your chance to reach out to their friends, family, co-workers as well, trust me, it is vital and will be appreciated!

To bury or not to bury?

Another incurable error businesses make is by not understanding the idea of burying a review with solicited positive reviews. This practice doesn’t always work, specifically, with Yelp. Yelp has a propensity to catch those positive reviews in their Yelp net and/or filter. If you haven’t ever already noticed, at the bottom of your review page in very, very fine print there is something glaring called “filtered reviews”. Have you ever wondered where that that solicited review you asked your brother to write went? It’s not that it’s non-existent, it’s discarded into the abyss of “filtered reviews”.  Make Note: Unless the people you are asking to write the review are legitimate Yelpers, their review will be filtered. Don’t learn this lesson the hard way because once that review goes into the filtered net, the likelihood of it coming out, is pretty slim to none and contacting that Yelp sales consultant to help you out, will do you no good, even if you advertise with them. Do not get caught in that tender trap! You can out-do Yelp by soliciting  those satisfied customers that are Yelpers by asking them first if they Yelp and then ask for their review.

Besides Yelp there are a couple of other review sites that everyone needs to check out or use. Angie’s List is a pretty good resource and they are decent at making sure that the reviews on their site are indeed legitimate. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t filter something they feel was illicit.  They will contact the business owner if they feel as if something has been compromised and they take their reviews very serious as their consumers are paying members. Like Yelp, Angie’s List will go so far as to ping IP addresses to make sure that you are not writing your own reviews in house but they will usually contact the business before removing any reviews, usually. Side Note: Advertising with Angie’s List is pretty minimal and has some advantages in my opinion because a paid review site vs. a free one is sometimes more genuine. Google+/Google Local, is beefing up their reviews options and they encourage anyone with a Google account to write a review, anyone. They encourage it so much, they could care less about how you are getting your reviews, whether you are buying them or not, they want that traffic on their site. You have to have at least 3 reviews before they post, but Google does a pretty good job of getting and keeping your information on their site visible at all times and once you sign up and own your business page you have that control as well. Google is now partnering up with the ever popular and well known,  Zagat which creates even more traffic to their site and yours!

Claim/create your review sites

If you haven’t already done so, set up a business account with Yelp, it’s free. Before that, do a search for your business to see if someone has reviewed your business, once you have done this and if your business is indeed listed, at the bottom of the page you can claim it. From there they will have you set up a business site/login and prove to Yelp that you are the business owner, this usually is just a phone call verification process.  Now you have jurisdiction over the information on your site, from pictures and logo, to hours and description, to meet the owner content etc… you have control over pretty much everything other than the reviews themselves.

Google+/Local which used to be Google Places, is a free member only site also.  Which means, there is no charge to use this site as business page or local listing,  but you have to have a Google account, specifically, Google+ to claim and/or maintain the site. It is fairly probable someone might have already reviewed your business and put in the information they deemed correct. You can create a Google+ account and log onto Google local and perform a local search for your business.  If the information is there, you can claim this as your business and also control the content on this page this will also require a phone verification process.

Angie’s List is almost the same except you have to have a paid Angie’s List membership. Yahoo Local has a review site as well which draws from other sites such as city search, YP, etc… Make sure to set up a FREE account with Yahoo Local as well. Foursquare also gives you the option to claim your business if someone has created a check in.

Keep up with the content on your review sites daily 

The information on your review sites is exceptionally imperative to your business. Not only does this help in your Google ratings/analytics but it also gives you more exposure. In addition to this, if there is a piece of information that is inaccurate or a negative review that has been sitting there for a couple of days without a response, this could negatively frown on your business. It is important keep the content current so make sure to check your review sites daily. Update your logo, information, hours of operation, pictures of staff or business where needed and as often as needed. Most of the review sites give you the option to post new happenings or specials as well. Foursquare isn’t necessarily a review site, but it is definitely a legitimate social media site for people to check into businesses and leave tips or suggestions about their experience about that business, so don’t leave that out either! Stay connected, live up to your customers’ expectations and exceed them,  and always, continuously, diplomatically respond to reviews, positive or negative!

 Food for thought: “products with more than ten reviews saw “drastically” higher conversion rater both for the products actually reviewed and for the other products from the same brand.”

Review sites to consider claiming:

Yelp

Google+/Google Local

Yahoo Local

Foursquare

Angie’s List (paid site)